Three leading fundraisers – Roberta Armitage from Kidney Health Australia, Ross Anderson from The Lost Dogs’ Home, and Sam Allen from Oxfam Australia – shed light on the integral role that telemarketing plays in their gifts in wills fundraising programs.


ROBERTA

How do phone calls establish lasting relationships and encourage legacy giving? Telemarketing is crucial; it’s the component with the most budget allocated to it, and it’s really successful in converting supporters. You can’t beat the human-to-human element. Even calls that don’t immediately lead to a conversion still foster important connections with supporters, often resulting in uplifts in giving. Apple Marketing Group’s role in converting supporter data cohorts, whether cash appeal supporters or community fundraisers, to bequest prospects allows us to build the pipeline, gather valuable insight into the supporters’ interests and motivation for giving, and nurture these relationships, increasing the likelihood of a successful conversion in subsequent calls. This approach establishes rapport and trust and ensures a steady engagement with our supporters. Our reliance on Apple Marketing Group is strategic, given their capacity to handle high volumes.

How do you select the right team for gifts in wills conversations? We seek individuals who can translate our vision into tangible impact for our supporters. We look for staff with broad life experience, maturity, and resilience capable of respectfully navigating sensitive conversations. Working closely with Apple Marketing Group, we train staff on our programs and services, ensuring they can speak passionately about our mission and make the bequest ask genuinely and effectively.

What’s the future for gifts in wills conversations? Recently, we’ve observed a decline in contact rates as supporters have become less responsive to phone calls, likely due to increased scam awareness. Four years ago, we could reliably reach supporters or expect callbacks, but our contact rates have decreased over time. To address this, we used multi-channel approaches, implementing strategies like sending pre-SMS primer messages to warm up supporters for upcoming calls and utilising eDMs, resulting in improved contact rates. Despite these challenges, phone solicitation remains the most successful method for converting supporters.


ROSS

How do phone calls establish lasting relationships and encourage legacy giving? While communicating with supporters through other channels provides valuable information, nothing beats a direct conversation. Talking with supporters allows us to gauge their thoughts, hear their hesitations, and assess their commitments, providing rich insights that inform our relationship strategies. Like many small charities, we lack the capacity to have thousands of conversations with our supporters, so we rely on skilled telemarketers like those from Apple Marketing Group. They have thousands of conversations, providing invaluable feedback and genuine two-way engagement that other channels can’t match. Calls give supporters the freedom to respond genuinely, ensuring each interaction leaves them feeling appreciated and heard. These warm conversations are the very heart of our relationship management program.

How do you select the right team for gifts in wills conversations? The team needs to tap into empathy, authentically connect with our supporters, and share their love for our cause. Listening to conversations and coaching the calling team reveals the power of getting the right people in place. Equipping them with knowledge and insights ensures they genuinely engage with supporters, sharing stories and listening attentively. They need the freedom to respond appropriately, adjusting their tone, language, and pace to meet each supporter’s needs. The goal is to normalise the conversation about gifts in wills, making it a natural extension of their support for our cause.

What’s the future for gifts in wills conversations? The future of gifts in wills conversations hinges on nurturing the seed of consideration over time. While immediate action is unlikely to follow a single call, the goal is to elevate it on individuals’ to-do lists and reassure them about their decision to take future action. As charities collectively inspire more supporters to consider legacy giving, integrating phone conversations with various touchpoints and communication channels will become increasingly vital.  This  includes  leveraging  social  media,  digital platforms, and multimedia to broaden the reach. The future lies in the sophisticated integration of phone conversations with other communication and engagement methods, ensuring timely and relevant connection with donors at every stage of their decision-making journey.


SAM

How do phone calls establish lasting relationships and encourage legacy giving’? Telemarketing, particularly through Apple Marketing Group, has been massive to our program at Oxfam. A significant portion of our pipeline, about 56%, has come through telemarketing efforts. 34% of these prospects were initially approached through calls, demonstrating its effectiveness in engaging supporters. While other channels like surveys and direct mail are valuable, telemarketing offers a more personalised approach and helps clarify supporters’ statuses, which can often be ambiguous. It’s so important to give them a genuine “I hear you,” being emotionally present and methodical in the data collection. Using the phone is critical to cultivating a relationship.

How do you select the right team for gifts in wills conversations? With Apple Marketing Group, we’ve cultivated a team of genuine, committed callers with years of tenure who have been with us for many years and do their research. Callers must be great communicators who actively listen and can synthesise a brand narrative and the language around emotional discussion. We’ve established excellent scripting together, ensuring consistency and effectiveness in our gifts in wills program. They always think of new ways and critical offerings to build the program.

What’s the future for gifts in wills conversations? The future of gifts in wills conversations will continue to rely on direct calls to requalify potential donors due to issues with other lead generation methods like surveys and digital outreach. Ambiguities in internal definitions of donor status make these calls crucial for clarification, especially when distinguishing between considerers and intenders. This approach has been pivotal for our program and remains a priority channel for budget allocation, complementing other activities such as surveys with a telemarketing component whenever possible. It’s critical to embrace reengagement journeys, ensure accurate data management, and leverage simultaneous digital exposure to maximise engagement. It’s about simplifying platforms and processes for supporters while continuously researching and refining approaches to meet their evolving needs. 

Apple Marketing Group is gearing up for its four-decade milestone, celebrating years of people-to-people connections.